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Broken ways of using magic.:

 1 Edmania, Sat, 5th Mar '11 7:37:01 PM from under a pile of erasers
o hai
So i'm trying to sort of balance magic in my story. But i'm too lazy to think of the thousands of ways it can be used as Story Breaker Powers that could probably destroy the entire cast or something like that. So I want limitations. I want information about the ways stuff can be used so that I can make such limitations.

Now, obviously, fire burns a lot of things, even the weakest fireball is probably gonna catch onto your coat and spread, so I considered magic resistance to those kind of things, which causes the effect to weaken based on how strong you are magic-wise.

So here's the things that can be used:

  • Fire magic : Control over flames, rock/sand(the logic here is that magma/lava is typically included with fire magic), heat over 0 degrees, oxygen(fire can't survive without it, also, you can only control the oxygen that is within 4 meters of whichever direction you're facing), smoke.

  • Ice magic : Control over (existing)water of all classical states of matter, carbon dioxide(because dry ice), hydrogen(part of water), heat under 0 degrees, freezing things (even stuff that isn't supposed to, like fire...well, I think it isn't supposed to, anyway.)

  • Storm magic : Control over lightning, wind, St. Elmo's light, can't really think of anything else associated with it not covered by the others(speaking of that, i'll welcome other suggestions related to whatever that can be used)

  • Holy magic : Control over light(this includes lasers), fortune(think of blessings), wood(Jesus' cross was made of it), life(but only to a limited extent, and you can't revive humans or give actual birth to any lifeform, it's really more like "not dead-ness"), and whatever the heck that causes the holy hand grenade.

  • Empty magic : This is stuff that is not associated with anything else. It can't really be generalized into control of certain things, so here's what you can do with it.
    • Teleportation : Maximum range is 10 kilometers and specific physical targets are necessary.  *
    • Dispel : Cancelling the magic spells used by others. All this really does is that it deletes the spell being used at the moment, the caster of the spell cancelled can just use another one if they want to. It doesn't work on holy magic or empty magic.
    • Time travel : Works only in specific locations constructed by the spell that creates them, and it takes 8 hours to happen. The caster cannot go into a time before he was created. The location once used will be destroyed, and the time traveler cannot interact with anything in the past (so its only real use is info-gathering or something)
    • Magic reflection : Basically, you reflect spells that were used to attack you consciously. Each time you use it though, you'll take damage that's about equal to a dagger stabbing you. Where such damage will happen is random, it could be on your leg at one time, it could be on your head at the other.
    • Amplification of emotions : It is only possible to use this on others. It isn't possible to lower the emotions, other than by eliminating the spell used altogether. Only specific emotions can be amplified and they can only be one at a time. Also, whatever emotion is being increased must have been felt by the target towards you, you cannot make someone who has never gotten angry at you angry, for example. The spell cannot last for longer than twenty minutes.
    • Elimination of souls : Right after someone dies, you can kill their souls so that they cannot go to Heaven or Hell. You can also use this on ghosts. Anyone who does use it cannot enter the afterlife when they die. Some people subconsciously use this because they don't believe there is an afterlife, and anyone that happens to die near them are affected.

All magic has a maximum range of 100 kilometers unless they have a specific range for a particular use. I also want to know what type of magic is overly advantageous over another type. It is also possible to use multiple types of magic at the same time, there's not really anyone that can only use fire magic or something if they learned how to use others.

edited 5th Mar '11 7:57:06 PM by Edmania

If people learned from their mistakes, there wouldn't be this thing called bad habits.
 2 Crystal Glacia, Sat, 5th Mar '11 8:39:47 PM from Cedarpointland
patience, young padawan
As Limyaael has said, make sure that magic comes with a price. Also, know that it's not going to solve all of society's problems for the same reason why our technology hasn't.

  • What do you need to do magic? Some sort of a natural resource? Magical energy of some sort? Physical strength?
  • What does it cost? Lives? The user's sanity? The user's vitality, which would result in lots of Squishy Wizards?
  • What happens if a user tries working with too much magic, or more than they can handle? Death? Internal bleeding? A Heroic RROD?

edited 5th Mar '11 8:40:09 PM by CrystalGlacia

 3 Edmania, Sat, 5th Mar '11 9:39:04 PM from under a pile of erasers
o hai
It usually uses magical energy that's created based on how much you want to use it. So some guy whose on the verge of death who needs holy magic to survive because there's no doctor nearby or anything will have plenty of magic energy supply. There are some objects that also store it, but they are rare. Going over what you can handle causes random damages to your body in the same way the reflection magic cost works, it's just that the reflection cost happens even if you aren't doing more than you can handle. This is because the more damages caused will likely make the person gathering magical energy want it more so he can survive or whatever. You can use other people's magic energy but only a few people are capable of this because how to do that was kept secret.

There's got to be certain ways of using magic that's a lot more threatening than using it in a conventional way though. Like pulling the water from a human's body rather than just blasting them with ice.

edited 5th Mar '11 9:40:10 PM by Edmania

If people learned from their mistakes, there wouldn't be this thing called bad habits.
 4 Rynnec, Sat, 5th Mar '11 11:48:08 PM Relationship Status: Healthy, deeply-felt respect for this here Shotgun
Ronin
Okay, this is just a pet peeve of mine but, where's Darkness?
"I'll show you fear, there is no hell, only darkness."

My twitter
 5 doorhandle, Sun, 6th Mar '11 1:43:48 AM from Space Australia!
part of light, maybe? remember, shadow is the absense of light.

 6 Edmania, Sun, 6th Mar '11 8:08:47 AM from under a pile of erasers
o hai
You can technically do that yeah. Control over light also means you can decrease it. I don't think that darkness would have all that much of a use though.
If people learned from their mistakes, there wouldn't be this thing called bad habits.
 7 Native Jovian, Mon, 7th Mar '11 8:29:18 AM from Orlando, Florida
Io vs Jupiter
Your magic is way too broad. The easiest way to keep a system like this from getting out of hand is to constrain the situations in which it can be used. Control over fire is a powerful ability, but control over oxygen is a One-Hit Kill against anyone in reach of said powers; if you can literally suck the oxygen out of their lungs, then there's no way to counter that. Ditto things like "hydrogen, because it's part of water" (so is oxygen!).

I find that the best way to make such systems is thematic links, rather than scientific ones. For example, fire magic also deals with heat and light; ice magic also deals with cold and water; storm magic also deals with air and electricity (lightning), etc. There'd be some overlap (for example, but fire and earth magic would have control over magma), but that's alright.
 8 Edmania, Mon, 7th Mar '11 9:46:55 AM from under a pile of erasers
o hai
(so is oxygen!).

I didn't want both fire and ice to overlap though in that use. d:

control over oxygen is a One Hit Kill against anyone in reach of said powers; if you can literally suck the oxygen out of their lungs, then there's no way to counter that.

Well that depends. A normal human that doesn't know magic even exists will probably be unable to counter that, but the effects are weaker on individuals that are experienced with magic because of resistance so they could simply get out of range quickly enough.

If people learned from their mistakes, there wouldn't be this thing called bad habits.
 9 Chabal 2, Mon, 7th Mar '11 10:19:51 AM from Plains of Tolosa
Fear me
On the contrary, shadow only occurs where there is light, or all is darkness.

What about earth powers and telekinesis (and assimilated) powers?

 10 Native Jovian, Mon, 7th Mar '11 11:17:34 AM from Orlando, Florida
Io vs Jupiter
I didn't want both fire and ice to overlap though in that use.
Then fix your system so it doesn't, don't just contradict your previously-established rules by declaring that it doesn't. You can make up whatever rules you want, but if they aren't applied consistently, then the whole thing falls apart.
 11 Edmania, Mon, 7th Mar '11 5:02:03 PM from under a pile of erasers
o hai
I never said it has to be a part of water. It's just there because I want more flexible ways of using magic and oxygen was already covered.

To answer another possible misinterpretation : These are not examples of what ice and fire and whatever magic can do. It's the only things they have control over. You can't summon sharks just because you have control over ice magic or something.

edited 7th Mar '11 5:08:32 PM by Edmania

If people learned from their mistakes, there wouldn't be this thing called bad habits.
Oxygen control wouldn't be an effective weapon. Taking the oxygen out of someone's lungs will be far more effective than just suffocating them, but it still takes about ten seconds for them to fall unconscious. If they have a weapon, they could easily kill you. If not, they could probably do enough damage to get you to stop focusing on the spell.

Of course, if you could just stop someone's metabolism (which isn't really distinct from fire), you could stop them pretty much instantly.

I don't think that can be considered time-travel. Also, it could still do a lot. It won't necessarily break the story, but it will have a big effect on what you can and can't do. Industrial espionage would be unstoppable.

Magic reflection seems near suicidal. Can you use holy magic to heal so you could actually practice and use it in situations that aren't actually life-threatening?

I think you could give someone an stroke with water magic. I don't know how fast that is, but I don't think they'd be able to trace it back to you, so it would be good for assassinations. Of course, if you do it enough, you could instantly kill someone.

Emotion seems pretty powerful. Exactly how specific is it? Can you manipulate someone's fear in such a way that they're guaranteed to run, rather than attack?

It's really hard to say what is and isn't overpowered without knowing how much power it has. How much mass can you magically move? How much energy can you create?

The groups don't seem to have any real internal consistency. For example, carbon dioxide seems to be under ice for no reason beyond that it has a solid form, just like everything else.

Freezing fire is impossible since it doesn't actually mean anything. Fire is just a chemical reaction. If you make them stop reacting, that would be putting the fire out, not freezing it.

Also, when you say classical states of matter, what does that mean? You can't control water in its bose-einstein condensate form?
 
 13 Edmania, Mon, 7th Mar '11 6:30:05 PM from under a pile of erasers
o hai
Magic reflection seems near suicidal. Can you use holy magic to heal so you could actually practice and use it in situations that aren't actually life-threatening?

Well you could, but healing magic (life) takes a while and I don't really see much of a reason to use reflection in non-life threatening situations for any serious purpose.

Emotion seems pretty powerful. Exactly how specific is it? Can you manipulate someone's fear in such a way that they're guaranteed to run, rather than attack?

I would say that depends on the target and what they view you as. You can probably make them unstable in general though using that way.

How much mass can you magically move? How much energy can you create?

You can throw mountains if you have sufficient magical energy. There isn't an actual limitation to the energy, but to do something as large scale as throwing a mountain you probably need either thousands of other human's energy or a specific item that stores it(all of the items that do store magical energy have incredible amounts of it, but there's about 100 of them in a world where there are around 3.5 billion casters) unless you're some Hot-Blooded king of kings who makes the most passionate anime character look weak.

Freezing fire is impossible since it doesn't actually mean anything. Fire is just a chemical reaction. If you make them stop reacting, that would be putting the fire out, not freezing it.

I didn't really mean freeze based on how cold it is or whatever. I meant something more like a "it stops moving" sort. Remember, this is magic we're talking about here. (Also, magic resistance can easily cause "stop moving" to be reduced into "slowed down", especially if the caster isn't very good at using it.)

I don't think that can be considered time-travel. Also, it could still do a lot. It won't necessarily break the story, but it will have a big effect on what you can and can't do. Industrial espionage would be unstoppable.

Well, you can go to the future. Though by the time you arrive it will be considered the present and you wouldn't be able to return to your normal time (well, you won't be able to interact with it anyway) because your normal time has become the past.

Also, when you say classical states of matter, what does that mean? You can't control water in its bose-einstein condensate form?

You can't use plasma.

edited 7th Mar '11 9:13:10 PM by Edmania

If people learned from their mistakes, there wouldn't be this thing called bad habits.
Personally, I think you're going about this the wrong way. What makes a story breaker power isn't the power, but the story. Figure out what kind of things would still be a threat to them even though they have magic, and use those to drive the plot.

You could even have a serious challenge for a Physical God if you set up the situation right. (Easiest way is to give their opponent similar powers.)

In one of my stories, I had a character who could read and control every mind within a couple of blocks, and she got taken down by a person with no powers at all. I just made that person think it through carefully and realize the mind-reading character had trouble with crowds (unlike most fictional telepaths she actually enjoys crowds, but she doesn't function very well in them). Keep in mind the trope Did You Just Scam Cthulhu? - smarts can matter more than power level.
If I'm asking for advice on a story idea, don't tell me it can't be done.
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Total posts: 14
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